UW EE graduate student Ethan Keeler received the Best Scientific Poster Award at the 9th annual Nano and Micro Systems (NAMIS) International Summer School in Montreal, Canada, held June 29-July 3, 2015. Keeler competed against 40 other students and researchers.
A second year graduate student, Keeler’s poster was titled “MEMS Resonator and Photonic Crystal Integration for Enhanced Cellular Mass Sensing.” Keeler is studying a challenging and underexplored area in biology and medicine, which entails detecting single-cell masses.
To more accurately detect single-cell masses, Keeler and EE professor Lih Lin’sresearch group are integrating loosely focused, photonic crystal enhanced laser beams with resonators from small-scale devices technology, called Microelectromechanical Systems. By applying a laser beam to a cell, it can be better positioned on the vibrating structure. Resonators vibrate at a measurable natural frequency dictated by their structure and material composition, which shifts with the introduction of a cell. By measuring this shift, masses can be identified along with other cell properties.
“This measurement can reveal invaluable information in drug discovery or in understanding unregulated cell growth underlying diseases such as cancer,” Keeler said.